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The Science Of Making An App Go Viral

Mehreen Siddiqua Mar 15, 2018

Despite being user engaging, not every mobile application has the tendency to get viral. It’s no longer a matter of luck. These days, you have to put your heart and soul in promoting the app as well. It has become more of a necessity to stay ahead in business.

Before moving on to the science, let’s first observe the typical way of sharing an app.


This iteration or sharing pattern would continue and will give a good start to promotion efforts. In case, there is a weak link, the chain breaks. It usually happens if the user did not find the promised value in the app.

Plan for virality

For starters, every app should be well designed and easily sharable for all users. In some cases, sharing of an app has to be coupled to certain rewards. It has been tested through gaming apps that when you share your actions across social networks, there is a higher likelihood of friends catching up with the trend. Upon inviting other friends to play, the user gets rewarded with some bonus points.

A similar approach can be used whereby users can be rewarded upon sharing app in their circles. However, app store optimization is the foundation of user acquisition strategy. It involves selecting the right keywords, creating app screenshots for user previews and providing the relevant description of the app to target the relevant audience. The next stage is to introduce paid and viral tactics in order to boost the app acquisition.

Another integral part of promoting an app requires development of web presence outside the app store as well. This is achieved by creating a landing page optimized for mobile.

App virality in a nutshell

But hold on, is your app passing these 4 criteria

It has value to share

It allows users to share and for friends to join

The users should be rewarded for sharing and incentives must be provided for coming back

As more people use the app, more value should be created for them

With that known, its also important to note that it takes some time for the customer to try the app and share it in their circle. The challenge is to reduce this time and hence comes the science.

Optimize to make it effortless

An ideal app never confuses the user with complicated design but facilitates them with easy functionality. Also, the steps to get the app downloaded should be simple and not time consuming. In order to create a flow in your app, make its sharing effortless. Allow users to have one-click sign in option so that they can get registered effortlessly. A dedicated login, on the other hand is time-consuming and makes the user lose interest.

Use referrals

Even in the digital world, the one thing that remains constant is the general trust in recommendations. 92% of people say they trust recommendations from friends and family, and word of mouth still influences 50% of all purchase decisions. To date, referrals remain the most powerful form of app marketing.

Mehreen Siddiqua

She is a millennial with a sense of humor that she embodies in visuals. A Digital Marketer focusing on Social Media Marketing by profession, exploring diverse avenues and ventures in tech while honing entrepreneurial skills. Currently she is the communications coordinator and strategist for Arpatech looking into e-commerce, consumer behavior and digital business models.